WTCC Austria : Muller and lópez kings of the ring
Yvan Muller took advantage of starting race 1 from pole position to claim his third victory of the season at the Salzburgring today. However, he was then involved in a pile-up at the start of the second race, forcing him to withdraw. José María López improved on his podium finish from the first race to win race 2, after a magnificent series of overtakings. These results extend Pechito’s lead in the World Championship standings. He is now 41 and 45 points ahead of Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb respectively. Loeb finished 4th and 7th in today's races.
The fine weather continued at the Salzburgring, attracting large crowds to the Austrian track to bask in the sunshine.Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb shared the front row for race 1, while José-María López started from fourth on the grid, alongside Tom Coronel.
When the lights went out, Yvan Muller made a great start, and he was leading at the first chicane. Behind him, Tom Coronel managed to overtake Sébastien Loeb, but José-María López took advantage of that manoeuvre to snatch second spot ! The two Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs quickly pulled away from the chasing pack, while Sébastien Loeb tried to find a way past Tom Coronel.
On lap 8, López slipped up at the chicane and Coronel moved back up into second place. There were no further changes to the standings, with Muller the winner, ahead of Coronel, López and Loeb.
With the top ten drivers from qualifying lining up in reverse order on the starting grid, race 2 always looked like being an entertaining spectacle. At the start, Yvan Muller was forced off onto the grass and into the crash barrier after he was hit by another driver. The safety car came out as Yvan reluctantly made his way back to the pits. The red flag was raised and the race was brought to a halt, which gave the mechanics the time to repair C-Elysée n°1. However, Yvan was already a lap behind the other drivers, so decided not to carry on.
Upon the resumption, José-María López found himself behind a group of four Civics, made up of Tarquini, Monteiro, Michelisz and Bennani. The Argentinian driver then embarked upon a heroic recovery, passing his adversaries one by one by slipstreaming on the straights. So Pechito completed his third race win of the season, stretching his lead at the top of the overall standings considerably in the process. Having spent a long time stuck behind Gianni Morbidelli, Sébastien Loeb finished seventh, after overtaking Mehdi Bennani midway through the race.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: DRIVER STANDINGS
1. José-María López: 179 points
2. Sébastien Loeb: 138 pts
3. Yvan Muller: 134 pts
4. Tiago Monteiro: 96 pts
5. Gabriele Tarquini: 74 pts
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: MANUFACTURER STANDINGS
1. Citroën Total: 412 points
2. Honda: 269 pts
3. Lada: 136 pts